Strategic and Creative Web Presence

Strategic and Creative Web Presence

This is an adaptation from my paper presented in Rome last April 2015 entitled “Creative Faith-based Online Writing”. In that presentation, I followed the below Theoretical Framework:

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For this blog article, I’ll summarize the main points I’ll deliver in a lecture entitled “Strategic and Creative Web Presence”. I take inspiration from the regular conferences entitled “Professional Seminar for Church Communications Offices” run by the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome.

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Literature Review:

It is a fact that millions of men and women of all nations, races, and classes are taking advantage of the blogging medium to articulate their thoughts, feelings, experiences, and particularistic identities online, without having to get the approval of book publishers, newspaper editors, employers, or party bosses, is undoubtedly a new phase in political communication (Keren, 2010). A Weblog can take the form of a diary, a news service (or summaries of and links to current news items on a topic), a collection of links to other Web sites, a series of book reviews, reports of activity on a project, a journal or diary, a photographic record of an event or activity, or any number of other forms (Stephens, 2006).

In this day and age, many persons and social actors (institutions, brands, media) are actively involved in public opinion and, in certain cases, influence it through communication strategies. To attain this, it has become necessary to know by heart the so-called <media language>. Such language has turned practically into currency, and it has come within the reach of common man, even those outside the communication profession, and has thus profoundly affected those actors in the social and cultural realm. And when it comes to Church communication, the Church is impelled to participate as one more in this dialectic of means, which has come to include: rapidity and instantaneity, specific language and semantics, technical dynamics of the press, of radio, of television, of the Internet, etc. (Pérez-Latre, 2007).

 

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AuthenticityThe Catholic blogger has to support the Church’s view of world communications as that which embraces new technologies, new relationships, and promotes a culture of respect, dialogue and friendship, in an environment promoting truth and authenticity of life in the digital age. The Second Vatican Council had emphasized, as leitmotifs exemplifying the expanded horizon for the understanding of the Church, that the Church is mystery, is communio, is mission to the world, and is community of dialogue. In the document Lumen Gentium, one finds fundamental elements of Ecclesiology: that the Church is “the People of God”, the “Body of Christ” in the Holy Spirit, is communion, is a universal sacrament of salvation, and at the same time a complex reality given in Her the dual elements of humanity and divinity (Lee, 2012; Hunt, 2013; Van Bühren, 2013). Hence, the faith-based online writer cannot betray these realities. An authentic communicator is necessarily truthful (to speak the truth and to act according to the truth); without truthfulness, there is no communication. But since vir bonus dicendi peritus (a good orator is defined as a good man), then he ought to exercise the Christian virtues, above all, the virtue of love, or charity, a radical love which is a gift of self. 

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Hunt, Anne (2013). The Trinitarian Depths of Vatican II. Theological Studies. 74(1): 3-19.

Keren, Michael (2010). Blogging and Mass Politics. Biography. 33(1), 110-126.

Lee, Katrina (2012). Strategies for Improving the Impact of Church Websites. The case of Xt3. 8º Seminario Professionale di Comunicazione della Chiesa. Roma: Pontificia Università della Santa Croce.

Pérez-Latre, Francisco (2007). Algunas ideas sobre transmisión de valores. In Antonio Aranda (Ed.) Identidad cristiana: Coloquios universitarios.  Navarra: EUNSA. 291-297.

Stephens, Michael (2006). Blogs. Library Technology Reports. 42(4), 15-35.

Van Bühren, Ralf (2013). Cinquant’anni dopo l’apertura del Concilio Vaticano II: Alcune questioni aperte sull’ermeneutica, la ricezione e la storiografia. Rivista teologica di Lugano. 18(1): 97-108.

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Provide good content:

Content is king on the Internet: it is Rule #1.  If you don’t follow this rule, the remaining 9 ideas here are of no use.  If you’ve got good material ―videos, explanations, pictures, news―, by itself it shall spread.  If yours is not original material, feel free to spread the good content you find on websites or news channels which you find interesting and helpful.  Speak in today’s language…  Use videos a lot: those that are original, impactful, amusing, are the most desired by readers.

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Always positive:

Speak always in a positive manner, speak personally to the heart of your reader.  You should never be against anything or anyone.  A friendly and amusing explanation would do much greater good than a long list of arguments, no matter how well reasoned out these are.  You might not convince a given reader or listener, but if you write in a sufficiently gracious or humorous manner, you might win a friend 🙂 Only then will you be able to help.  We should practice refinement and an extreme respect for the freedom of others.

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Tips & tricks to be on top of Google searches:

http://antoniogonzalezm.es/65-pasos-para-optimizar-al-100-tu-web-para-google-en-2015-on-page-seo-checklist-onpage/

A. CONTENT is king!

  1. Original Content.
  2. Content that makes users/readers pass by your site very frequently; this in turn increases the likelihood of them interacting with your site (e.g., via comments):
  3. Vídeos & slide presentations (Slide Share)
  4. Articles of more than 500 words
  5. News related to your site/page.
  6. Check Google Analytics for indicators of interaction:
  7. Time spent on your site/page
  8. Pages per visit
  9. Check if other websites copy you (quote you).
  10. Each page landing should focus on a concrete keyword: Make sure to include on your site/page concepts that are semantically related to that keyword. Check out Google Trends, Google Autocomplete & “Searches related to” (at the end of a page of results on Google).
  11. Youtube videos with titles optimized for your keywords.
  12. Link to (with ‘nofollow’) articles of other websites that are relevant to your particular topic.
  13. Putting a blog in a subdirectory (not subdomain), with original content, can improve Google positioning.
  14. Blogs with content arranged/ordered by tags & categories.
  15. Content that is grammatically correct and hierarchically arranged with labels/tags “h2” and “h3.
  16. At least 1 image on each post.
  17. Frequent publication/posts with new content.
  18. Broadening or updating old blogs/posts (and later, change the publication date)
  19. Allow comments on your blog page. The more comments, the merrier.
  20. Beware of SPAM comments (those that lead you to fake/spam/porn or otherwise doubtful links).

B. On-Page SEO checklist (tips/tricks). See here:

http://backlinko.com/on-page-seo

 

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Apostolate of Public Opinion

St. Catherine of Siena – The Apostolate of Public Opinion

In the book “Tiempo de Caminar”, Ana Sastre describes how important it was, in the life and teachings of the Founder, St. Josemaria Escriva, to do an intense “Apostolate of Public Opinion”.

“The Father has always encouraged us to write and speak, with ‘gift of tongues’, in order to spread the truth about the Church and about Opus Dei. He has always insisted that one of the greatest evils is ignorance: and we have to talk courageously and truthfully about what we have in our heads and in our hearts… This ‘apostolate of public opinion’ can be done in several ways: from a Theology lecture, to an article in a newspaper, to a simple conversation with a friend, say, while walking along the corridor…”

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On this Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, I’m doing a brief and simple ‘Apostolate of Public Opinion exercise’ with my friends, via the social networks. I have made them choose any among the following topics:

(1) “Civic Responsibility and the Elections” [show sample on slideshare.net]

(2) “Pope Francis”:

–> http://www.news.va/en

–> http://www.ncregister.com/

(3) Opus Dei (the Founder, Venerable Bishop Alvaro, Bishop-Prelate Javier, etc. etc.)

(4) any apostolic activity.

I gave them the following REFERENCE to READ: http://opusdeitoday.org/2012/07/cyberapostolate-and-pinterest/

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Here are the outputs:

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Some notes taken from the Talk “Voting Wisely” given by Judge Rowena Tan:
 Recently, Judge Rowena Tan gave a talk on voting wisely in the upcoming election to young professionals in Mayana Center. She underscored our responsibility to vote for candidates who are pro-life and will defend the rights and dignity of the person. It’s crucial to know the background and track record of the candidates.The attendees found her talk very inspirational.

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Mentoring in the University

I didn’t realize how great an impact mentoring would do, until we started this coaching activity with a small group of mentees from among our students in the Insitute of  Tourism and Hotel Management.  Taking it from the encouragement of and the help of Dr. Navie Veloria, the proprietor of the Philippine Association of Life Coaches, we used the mentoring materials like the Personal Development plan, modules on time management, the hedgehog principle, etc. the bi-monthly, one-on-one meet-ups with the students became fruitful.  An interesting feedback we got from the students who used the love and relationship workbook,  said that it has helped them value more their relationships with their loved ones. They have seen how they have to make their relationships more God-centerd, the the value of human dignity and the respect they owe the other person.

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Civic Responsibility in the Coming  Elections

One of a citizen’s indispensable  rights and duties is the right to vote, the right to choose in conscience, one’ s choice of  candidates of future government leaders.  With this in mind one has to go out and vote or exercise the right of suffrage. We cannot just abstain or leave this to chance.  First, one has to know and be aware of our country’s current political situation, her choice of candidates: their educational background and competence, moral background and their platform. Voting with a right conscience would mean choosing candidates with moral integrity and concern for the public good. Our country’s good governance and future depend a lot on the voice of the people. Let us put our good intentions to action.

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Pope Francis on the Priesthood

by: Mimi Fabe

Pope Francis constantly upholds the missionary character of the Church focusing on the fact that the very nature of the Church is reflected in the palpable presence of Christ in the world. An excerpt of his writings: “Teachers of the faith need to get out of their cave,” and the clergy “out of the sacristy.” From this assertion, we can glean two things within the elements of Pope Francis’ understanding of the mission of the priesthood: greatness and nothingness.

First, on nothingness. Pope Francis wanted that his parish priests to live and empathize with their people, and to experience the same conditions as their people, deep within the context of radical simplicity and poverty. This status, he contended, is apt both for the continued pedagogy of the gospel, and the inspiring mediating role of the priest. Furthermore, it reflects the vibrant witness of the early mendicant orders within the environment of a world that was deeply hostile to the gospel.

Second, the greatness. Pope Francis wants priests to rediscover their liturgical–theological core in their everyday life. Francis has warned priests against the dangers of ambition, clericalism, and careerism within the Church. Instead, he led the way with his example of directness and strength.  Finally, Francis highlighted the need for “purity of heart.” Conformity to Christ through purity of heart allows the priest to be in the world by means of the active mediation of grace through the sacraments, and through the tireless giving of self in a myriad of ways.

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May Roads

by: Elaine Sarmiento

The month of May begins tomorrow.  The bookstores and newspapers will remind us of Mother’s day on May 12.  Let’s not forget to bring a little something.  What about roses – the flower symbol of May?

May has also been traditionally dedicated to our heavenly Mother Mary.  One of the wonderful traditions of Filipinos is a pilgrimage to Our Lady of Antipolo – that ‘panata’ (commitment) of many to visit Our Lady of Antipolo, even if they have to wake up early in order to find an inch of space or so in or just outside the Church which is usually packed to the choir loft every single day of May.

I’m sure Mother Mary smiles lovingly at all her Filipino children who try to honor her in that way.

Humble as he was, St. Josemaría would tell his followers not to imitate him in any way.  But he made an exception my saying that we can imitate him in his love for Mother Mary, whom he reverently called ‘Our Lady’. He taught us to pray the rosary with devotion, and to honor her every Saturday by doing something special for her, like a visit to the sick or poor people of Our Lady.

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This is a very interesting video of a short biography of St Catherine of Siena: